Dave Bonomi, owner of Chicago’s Coalfire pizzeria, had no interest in opening a new restaurant. A near-permanent member of the hospitality industry – he started working in the kitchens aged 12 – he had managed to run his restaurant’s West Town and Lakeview locations during the early stages of the pandemic and had felt that opening a business just for the sake of growth was foolhardy.
His longtime friend, Tony Fiasche of the famous Tempesta deli market, agreed. A new business was also not on its pandemic bingo card. That is, until Bonomi visited Davanti Enoteca’s former home at 1359 W. Taylor Street as a courtesy to a friend. What he found was a surprise: he loved the space and its owners, it was close to home, and unexpectedly Fiasche showed interest.
“We put down a deposit the day we watched it,” Bonomi laughs. “Essentially, we haven’t really thought about it. Right after we gave the landlord the bail, I called an architect, a designer – then I thought, “Oh my god, I have to go tell my wife!”
The couple, along with Fiasche’s father, Agostino Fiasche, 37-year-old owner of Ristorante Agostino in suburban Montclare, are now reveling in the fruits of their labor at Peanut Park Trattoria, their new restaurant perched on the corner of Taylor and Loomis streets. . . It first debuted in mid-December, which led to a series of stops and starts over Christmas and New Years. Nonetheless, Peanut Park is picking up steam and has already gotten a nod. eye of Grandstand gastronomic critic Louisa Chu, who at the end of January gave her two and a half stars.
The restaurant seats 90 people in a space that marries repurposed wood from its predecessor, Davanti, with pops of bright color that lend a contemporary feel. Cozy and unassuming with a 15-seat concrete bar, it’s designed to give off a cozy but not run-down feel to living, says Bonomi. “What we’re looking for is basically a neighborhood joint,” he says. “If you go to Italy and stop at a little restaurant that’s been around for 200 years, there’s going to be something modern on the wall. They’re not trying to be rustic, they just are.
Peanut Park diners can expect a short but varied menu that eschews regionality in favor of seasonal simplicity with hits like linguine vongole, tender polpo fra diavola and a massive 24-ounce rib eye with rapini gremolata. Fiasche is particularly keen on introducing a few stuffed pasta weekend specialties like mortadella and ricotta stuffed ravioli with brown butter shallot jam.
A mid-start to Chicago’s second pandemic winter hasn’t been easy for the partners — the omicron variant has led to many booking cancellations — but they have high hopes for warmer days ahead, especially on the rooftop. -terrace of 40 places of the restaurant. .
The chain of events leading up to Peanut Park is still a bit surreal for Bonomi, but he has no regrets. “I saw a lot of [owners] that shoehorn their way into a restaurant or business just for the sake of growth,” he says. “I always said I would never do it, but we found the right owner, the right place and the right people.”
Peanut Park Trattoria, 1359 W. Taylor Street, open 4-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.